“The Doctrine of Discovery: The True Story of the Colonization of the United States of America”, new fourteen-minute video, suitable for adults, young adults, older children, and youth, invites us to follow clues to how the Doctrine of Discovery is embedded in the cultural and historical narrative of the United States. Discover why our immigration justice partners in Arizona have asked us to learn about this story and join them as allies in calling for the repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery.
This is one in a series of posts exploring the wisdom Jewish and Christian scripture and tradition offer as we strive to faithfully respond to immigration issues. This post was written by Shawna Foster, student minister at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka, Kansas. It first appeared in the congregation’s newsletter- Ed.
I recently started to volunteer at VIDA Ministries on Monday nights. VIDA is a outreach ministry sponsored by 12 Presbyterian congregations in the Topeka, Kansas that provides free volunteer-led programs and activities for Spanish-speaking immigrants, including an ESL class along with homework tutoring and nursery for participants’ children. I built their new website and included a biblical quote at the bottom. It’s Leviticus 19:33, and clearly puts forth a call to care for the immigrants in our midst.
When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
The director of VIDA was totally surprised to learn that this instruction is in the Bible. I was surprised that he was surprised – wasn’t the call to care for the stranger who sojourns in your land the whole reason VIDA was a ministry of these churches? (more…)
This is another in a series of posts exploring the wisdom Jewish and Christian scripture and tradition offer as we strive to faithfully respond to immigration issues. This is an excerpt from Rev. Lucinda Duncan’s sermon, “Taking Jesus Seriously,” preached at Follen Church Society in Lexington, MA on December 19, 2010- Ed.
In the Gospels, Jesus says:
Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.
A more accurate translation would have said, Blessed are the destitute…
What is this all about? Was as Jesus saying that God actually blessed the destitute, the beggars? Was Jesus simply a romantic charismatic liberalwho thought everyone could be taken in and fed?
The reality is that Jesus was saying that God blessed the destitute, the beggars, because they were the poor who had then hit hard times. After struggling to eke out a basic minimum living, they were crushed by debt, disease, or drought and could no longer make a living. They needed to beg on the streets to gather enough coins to put some food into the mouths of their children. Now let me just say: We know these people. In modern times these are the people who, in desperation, pay a year’s wage to a mafia coyote for the opportunity to risk life and limb to be transported illegally into the United States. Once here these are the people who are hired by major corporations to pick crops for substandard wages, to pluck chickens for fast food chains, or to wait around in groups on empty city corners to see if someone might drive by to offer them a single day’s wage.
Do you get what I’m talking about here? Yes, it’s our immigration issue, and it’s not going away. Yes, I’m saying that the people Jesus would call blessed by God are these very people, the undocumented immigrants carted into the United States by crime rings who care not a whit for the life or safety of any of their recruits and who are now the cause for such a ruckus in states like Arizona who believes every undocumented immigrant is a criminal trespasser.
If we are to take the words and the actions of Jesus seriously, we need to look at and listen to the needs of the poor, the undocumented, and the impoverished in this nation. We have the resources to do this. We used to have the heart. Could listening to what Jesus had to say, and how he lived his life, help us to realize hope and dignity must be supported somewhere, by someone or some people? Does listening to the words and looking at the life of Jesus change any of your minds about our immigration issues, about the minor actions — like the DREAM Act – that could possibly affect some of those in the right age group to win legal approval from the land in which they were raised? Can we bring ourselves to see what is morally relevant about Jesus’ philosophy and work together to provide hope and dignity to those who are settling this land? How seriously do we want to take Jesus?
This begins a series of posts exploring the wisdom Christian and Jewish scripture and tradition offer as we strive to respond faithfully to immigration justice issues. The Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham, AL, presented a Christmas pageant using elements from the Spanish celebration of Las Posadas to highlight the experience of seekers of refuge and a new start throughout the ages and in our own time.- Ed.
The pageant begins:
READER #1 (SHEPHERD): There are many ways to commemorate Christmas. One of them, common in the Spanish traditions in the Southwest, is Las Posadas. The Inns. In some places this is done for nine nights preceding Christmas, in others nine houses are visited in a single night, or nine rooms in a building. A procession led by figures of Mary and Joseph, the parents-to-be of the infant Jesus, goes from place to place, searching for an inn in which to stay.
READER #2 (WISE PERSON): At the time of Caesar Augustus, a census was ordered. Everyone was required to travel to their own home town to be registered. So Joseph traveled from where he lived in Nazareth to his ancestral home in Bethlehem. His betrothed, Mary, accompanied him on the journey despite the fact that she was pregnant.
READER #3 (SHEPHERD): Scripture tells us that when they arrived in Bethlehem, they had difficulty finding lodging in the crowded town and finally had to settle for an animals’ stable. It was there that the road-weary parents gave birth to their first-born child, and made a bed for him in the hay of the animals’ feeding trough because there were no better accommodations. (more…)